Four local companies have secured a deal to supply information communication technology (ICT) equipment worth 188 million Br to public offices.
Imperial ICT Solution, National Marketers, Bridgtech and Maxi Tech were awarded contracts on February 25, 2020. The equipment, which includes printers, flash drives, copy machines, network cables and scanners, will be distributed to 187 federal institutions.
The procurement is aimed at upgrading the standard and capacity of federal institutions with updated technologies, according to Worku Gezahegn, acting procurement director at the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Service, which procured items worth 14.7 billion Br in the last fiscal year.
For the procurement of the equipment, the Service announced a tender on August 23, 2019. Of the 15 international companies that participated in the process, 13 reached the technical evaluation stage that was opened on October 9, 2019. The financial evaluation stage that opened on January 27, 2020, shortened the list to 11. Then four companies secured the project.
Imperial ICT was awarded the contract to supply scanners and network cables for 88.1 million Br. National Marketers will provide colour printers and medium-duty copiers worth 75.3 million Br. Bridgtech secured a 2.3 million Br contract to supply light-duty copiers. Maxi Tech will supply dividers, flash disks and maintenance kits worth 22.2 million Br.
After awarding the project to the four companies, the Service has also given the remaining six companies that reached the financial evaluation stage and the four awardees the chance to supply additional equipment worth 117 million Br. Eight companies responded to the secondary request including the four original awardees, plus YNB Computer & Computer Accessories, Jupiter Trading, Amlu Tech Plc and Alta Computec Plc.
The federal offices will cover the cost. The winning companies are also expected to deliver the equipment within two months, according to Worku.
If the equipment is supplied from the local market, it will take two months, considering the shortage of forex, according to Worku.
Last year, the Service attempted to procure this equipment but failed since the bidders offered prices that were higher than the market prices. However, it bought other ICT equipment last year for 2.4 billion Br for public offices and universities.
"We aim to equip all federal offices with ICT machines under one framework procurement arrangement," said Worku.
Managers of Imperial ICT Solution, which has been supplying ICT equipment to the Service, mentioned that the higher tax on the equipment will be their primary challenge.
"The cost of the equipment and the tax that is imposed on them is not proportional," said Tekleberhan Negash, manager at Imperial, which was established in 2008 and provides software development, end-to-end security solutions, network infrastructure, data centre facilities and web application services among others.
The Service, under the stewardship of former federal judge Tsewaye Muluneh, has made a couple of adjustments in the procurement process over the past couple of months.
Two months ago, it announced that the pre-screening process of suppliers that used to take two weeks has been shortened to a week, while the period for technical evaluation has been reduced from two months to two weeks. Sample tests made at the Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise, which took three months, have been slashed to 20 days.
Getie Andualem (PhD), an associate professor at Addis Abeba University's College of Business & Economics, appreciates the government's initiative in making a framework for the procurement of ICT products.
"It's good to buy the ICT equipment under one framework, since it offers discounts and is simple to control and distribute," said Getie.
He also said that the procurement of the latest technology will accelerate customer service.
"However, there should be maintenance providers to ensure the performance of the equipment," he recommended.